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YMCA rejects Vernon Hills’ $1.4M offer

Lake County Family YMCA plans close VernHills branch Oct. 31 as well as Waukegan branch. | File photo

Lake County Family YMCA plans to close the Vernon Hills branch on Oct. 31, as well as the Waukegan branch. | File photo

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Updated: November 28, 2012 6:07AM

VERNON HILLS — The price went up, but Vernon Hills officials are still interested in preserving services at Central Lake YMCA.

The village was planning to purchase the property and let the park district operate the facility while repaying that cost, however, YMCA officials disagreed with preliminary evaluations and made mention of a second prospective buyer.

The Village Board and park district agreed to a $1.4 million figure during a special joint meeting this week, adhering to a request for a letter of interest.

Hal Katz, Lake Family YMCA interim CEO, said any expression of interest might prevent the bank from taking action against the organization. The YMCA Board of Directors reviewed the letter Wednesday morning and immediately sent a reply advising Vernon Hills officials not to pursue the property unless more money is involved.

“In short, the value of $1.4 million falls well short of current market value and as such is insufficient for our board to satisfy its fiduciary obligations to our bank,” Katz wrote on behalf of his board.

The statement also indicated a $2.25 million assessment by a commercial real estate broker, and that a second prospective buyer offered significantly more than the property value.

Unless Vernon Hills provides an offer closer to the market value, Katz wrote, the board will move to end member services on Oct. 31 and market the property more widely starting Nov. 1.

If a more acceptable offer is made, the YMCA would keep Central Lake open past Oct. 31 while further negotiations and formalities occur.

The Village of Vernon Hills initially planned to purchase the property with money from its $22 million reserve fund and then receive payments from the park district until fully repaid.

The situation arose early in October when the YMCA announced the closure of its Vernon Hills and Waukegan locations due to pressure from its bank relating to an accrued $6 million in debt, which grows each day services continue.

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